Stephen Wright Weston, furniture restorer, 70

By Terrilyn Simpson

He restores his first antiquity at the age of ten. He then restored over 10,000.

Stephen Wright Weston unexpectedly suffered a fatal heart attack on February 4 at his home in Winthrop, Maine. He was a seventh-generation Mainer, born March 22, 1951, in Caribou, Maine, to Donald and Theodora Weston.

He grew up in Winterport, Maine, attended Bangor and Brewer high schools and first entered the University of Maine to follow in the engineering footsteps of his father and other male family members, but quickly found that it was not suitable. So he headed a little south to Winthrop, bought a little cloak from the 1830s, and began to find out what things had been and to prove what they could become again.

He started his furniture restoration business when he was 20 years old. He never posted an ad; he never hung a sign and for a long time he didn’t list a phone number. News of his work spread quickly and within weeks he once remembered that he was overwhelmed with work. He almost immediately jumped into house restoration and over the years has dismantled and saved all or parts of 20 18th and 19th century houses that would otherwise have been razed, rebuilding and restoring many of them, including the one in which he last resided. . He surrounded his 1842 home with historically accurate flower gardens.

His knowledge and expertise in restoring and preserving furniture, said an antique dealer who became a client when Weston was just 22, was intrinsic, his skills almost unfathomable. He received calls from all over the country, regularly worked for dozens of antique dealers in Maine and other parts of New England, and worked for museums and historical societies throughout the state, including extensive restorations and exhibits for the Maine State Museum and both. private and public rooms of the Manoir du Gouverneur. He helped conceptualize and create the 19th Century Cabinetmaker’s Shop for the Maine State Museum’s permanent exhibit and wrote a chapter on 19th Century Painting Methodology for the museum’s book of State on design and color. Throughout his career, he made all of his paints and finishes himself. He taught a course at the American Museum of Folk Art in New York on 19th century painting designs. And he restored prominent exhibits by the Herter brothers, prominent 19th-century furniture designers and decorators, for a major exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

He once consistently categorized his conservation achievements as simply preserving his own heritage.

He was a voracious reader, referring to his extensive library and study of the 1800s as “nineteenth-century reading”. He was an accomplished ornithologist who, after reporting the discovery of a white blackbird at his bird feeder at the age of 10, was invited to participate in a university birding group. He then carved the whitebird out of wood. For several years he published a birding magazine in Maine. He has always had a passion for philately and an in-depth knowledge of antique glass which he meticulously collected throughout his adult life.

Separate from his curatorial career, and less known, was his extensive work as an artist. His daily entries in several hundred notebooks contain an infinity of solved equations to facilitate the creation of his elaborate sketches, many of which are now materialized in paintings, wooden sculptures and fanciful furniture and everyday objects. Artist Eric Hopkins, a longtime close friend, described Stephen as a “brilliant, creative genius – a true Maine Yankee Renaissance man”.

In recent years, he had been passionate about researching the genealogy of his maternal ancestors in the Walpole, NH area, and had hoped to spend more time there. Some of his cremated remains will be distributed there over the next summer.

He is survived by his longtime partner, Terrilyn Simpson of Winthrop.

A memorial service, to be announced, will be held in late spring.

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